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Our Eating Disorder Treatment specialties, at our Del Mar, CA a residential center specializes in Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, & Orthorexia Recovery.

Eating Disorder Treatment Team | Residential

Deandra Christianson, MA, LCPC, NCC, CCMHC, CDWF

Deandra Christianson, MA, LCPC, NCC, CCMHC, CDWF

National Director of Operations, Residential Eating Disorder Division

Deandra Christianson received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and then continued on to receive her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. While in her Master’s program she earned a Counseling Specialization and focused on treatment of children and adolescents. She is currently completing her PhD in Organizational Leadership at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
Deandra has been with Center for Discovery in many capacities, both clinical and administrative, since 2013. She has been afforded many opportunities to speak at conferences and other engagements throughout the country. Deandra has worked with individuals with eating disorders, self-injurious behaviors, mood disorders, and other co-occurring issues in both residential and outpatient treatment settings. Additionally, she has worked with schools in program development and implementation that focuses on student leadership and bullying prevention and intervention. Deandra is passionate about her work, as well as, eating disorder awareness, advocacy, and treatment.

Perla Vilhjalmsdottir, LMFT, CEDS-S

Perla Vilhjalmsdottir, LMFT, CEDS-S

Assistant Director of Operations, ED Residential Treatment, West Coast

Perla completed her undergraduate studies at The University of Iceland where she studied Early Childhood Development and completed two master’s degrees at Washington State University, Los Angeles. While earning her degree in Research Psychology focusing on multi-cultural issues and conflict resolution between adolescents and their parents she received an award by the American Psychological Association for outstanding research. Once completed, her focus became Marriage and Family Therapy as she was already passionate about making a difference in the field of eating disorders.

Perla has over 14 years of experience working with both adolescent and adult populations with eating disorders and co-occurring disorders in inpatient, residential, and day treatment settings. She has been supervising other eating disorder professionals for the past 5 years and now holds a certificate as a CEDS Supervisor.

The quote: “Returning to the Center For Discovery team has been a blessing for me. I feel like I’m amongst family, there is a sense of belonging. It is clear that our team is compassionate and invested in treating eating disorders as well as other mental health issues. Center For Discovery provides a healing place for people and their loved ones recovering from an eating disorder and that is the kind of team I want to invest in and be a part of”.

Amy Costa, LMFT, PsyD

Amy Costa, LMFT, PsyD

Regional Director, San Diego

Dr. Amy Costa has more than a decade of experience in treating mental health disorders. She has worked at all levels of treatment, including residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient as well as private practice. Her doctorate in psychology includes an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. Dr. Costa has also completed advanced training in dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and group therapy.

In addition to her work with eating disorders, Dr. Costa has experience in treating depression, anxiety and trauma in adolescents, adults and families. In treatment, Dr. Costa emphasizes skill building to help promote personal strength and mastery. Her goal is to empower individuals that seek overall healing and a transformed sense of self.

Jamie Atkins, RD, CEDRD

Jamie Atkins, RD, CEDRD

Director of Dietary Services

Jamie Atkins RD, CEDRD, is the Director of Dietary Services for the Adult RTC at Center for Discovery.  She has a passion for helping people meet their nutritional needs without losing sight of the social and emotional value of food. With a non-judgmental approach, Jamie helps people create a healthy relationship among food, mind, & body.  She believes in helping her clients to find their own path, thus allowing them to take ownership of their recovery, and at times does so utilizing a DBT informed approach she developed for Dietitians.  She has worked in the field for over a decade, and has experience working in all levels of care; hospitalization, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient.

Jamie is a Licensed Body Positive Facilitator and is an advocate for putting an end to weight stigma while spreading the message of size acceptance through speaking publicly on the topic across the country.  She has also spoken on various other topics related to eating disorders at the national and international level.  She is active in the community, both by raising eating disorder and weight stigma awareness and being on the board of the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp) serving as the Social Media Chair, and Association of Size Diversity and Health serving as a Member At Large.  Jamie believes the most important step in helping a client on the path to recovery is meeting them where they are, and helping them to build a recovery they can see for themselves, bringing together mind, body, and soul.

Kayla Karesh

Kayla Karesh

Program Director
Dr. Nicole Posner, MD

Dr. Nicole Posner, MD

Psychiatric Services

Nicole Posner, M.D. is a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice in San Diego. A graduate of the University of Vermont with a degree in psychology, she received her medical degree from The Sackler School of Medicine. Dr. Posner trained in psychiatry at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine and obtained post-graduate training in psychotherapy at the San Diego Psychoanalytic Institute and at Columbia University Psychoanalytic Training and Research. She has extensive experience in working with people who are struggling with eating disorders.

Martin Schulman

Martin Schulman

Physician

A native of Long Beach, California, Dr. Schulman majored in biochemistry at UC Berkeley in 1981. He graduated from the UC San Diego School of Medicine in 1985 then completed the Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program in Long Beach in 1988. After spending a year working in a small group practice, he joined the clinical faculty at UC San Diego, where he spent the next 15 years splitting his time between administrative, clinical, and teaching duties.

In 2005 Dr. Schulman opened a solo family medicine practice in nearby Encinitas but he maintains his ties to the UC San Diego School of Medicine as a part-time faculty member with the PACE Program and as a small group facilitator in the Practice of Medicine course for first and second year students. Prior to joining Center For Discovery, he spent four years as the medical director of an eating disorder residential treatment center for adolescents and adults.

Ian Cohen, RD

Ian Cohen, RD

Registered Dietitan
Ian Cohen is a Registered Dietitian that passionately believes in eating disorder recovery as a renewal of emotional, physical and mental health. Ian earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia and completed his Didactic Program in Dietetics at California State University at Northridge, during which he spent three years as a dietetic technician working in eating disorder treatment. He then completed his Dietetic Internship through a dual program at the University of Kentucky and Lexington Veterans Affairs Hospital.
 
While Ian is devoted to exemplary and empathetic treatment on an individual level at Center For Discovery, he also seeks to apply his principles to a societal platform that will increase body acceptance and deconstruct false narratives about public health. He is currently a member of International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals and International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians and engaged on a local level with the San Diego Food Bank, the San Diego Food System Alliance and the San Diego Hunger Coalition. 
Cacao Buck, BA

Cacao Buck, BA

Facility Manager

Cacao oversees the treatment and management of the Center For Discovery house in Del Mar. She graduated from The University of Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology (Criminology). She plans to pursue her Masters degree in Criminology. Before coming to Center For Discovery, Cacao worked as a facility manager/supervisor at New Alternatives. New Alternatives is a short term residential treatment program that houses teenagers. She has worked with teens in this group home setting for 3 years. She also has previous work experience in the health care setting. Cacao strives to help those in need, which is why she accepted a position here at Center For Discovery.